A Story of Resilience: How One Ukrainian Family Found Stability
By Sofiia Fedotova, Refugee Resettlement Caseworker
Arsen and his family escaped the war in Ukraine and came to the U.S. on April 2023 under the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) Sponsorship Program. They received a warm welcome, and their sponsor helped them to find an apartment in Citrus Heights.
Once settled into their new apartment, they were enrolled in Opening Doors’ Preferred Communities Program for Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees. The program assisted them in accessing needed benefits and basic services.
Alongside an Opening Doors’ Case Manager, the family applied to receive food stamps, cash assistance, and Medi-Cal coverage. They were also referred to the Refugee Health Clinic for their first medical screening and provided with information on accessing local food banks. Soon after, Opening Doors helped them to obtain their Social Security Numbers (SSNs).
For Arsen, a successful businessman in Ukraine, finding a job to support his family was the top priority. He applied for a driver’s license and received it within a few weeks. He went further and enrolled himself in a truck driving school to get a Commercial Driving License (CDL). As he attended school, Arsen began working with a food delivery app, thanks to his sponsor providing him with a car.
After getting his CDL, he was hired by a trucking company and is now on a path to self-sufficiency. His wife, Elvira, has been studying English while caring for their children. The family attends local events to learn about the cultures and traditions of their welcoming community. Opening Doors walks alongside many others like Arsen and his family.
Opening Doors' Preferred Communities Program assists eligible Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees (UHPs) with intake, assessment, and referrals for needed benefits and services for 90 days from the date of their enrollment in the program. The program is designed to ensure that basic needs are met, immediate challenges are addressed, and important steps towards self-sufficiency are taken.